ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו בהצהרה בבית שמש
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli PM backs down after uproar over private plane

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to take a private plane to the signing of the Israel-UAE accords has caused an uproar among the Israeli public, who long criticized Netanyahu's family's lavish lifestyle, and prompted a response from the prime minister's office which stated that the delegation would travel on one flight

Associated Press |
Published: 09.11.20 , 19:22
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday scrapped plans to fly to Washington with his family on a private plane and said he would instead travel with the official delegation.
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  • The reversal came after Israeli media reported that Netanyahu, his wife and two sons would be taking a separate flight to Washington for the White House ceremony marking the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
    ראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו בהצהרה בבית שמשראש הממשלה בנימין נתניהו בהצהרה בבית שמש
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)
    Netanyahu, who was indicted on corruption charges last year, has long faced criticism over his family's lavish lifestyle. That could have detracted from Tuesday's ceremony marking a major breakthrough in Israel's efforts to improve relations with its Arab neighbors.
    His Likud party initially defended the decision to take a private plane, saying it was aimed at protecting the prime minister and his family from potential exposure to the coronavirus. The official delegation, which departs Sunday, includes dozens of officials as well as media.
    Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu with the prime minister's service car Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu with the prime minister's service car
    Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu with the prime minister's service car
    (Photo: GPO)
    But after the media reports surfaced, the prime minister's office said in a statement that the delegation would travel on one flight.
    ''In order not to allow the media to divert public attention from the historic peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates and possibly with other Arab countries, the prime minister will fly with the delegation in a more spacious plane, with strict separation arrangements to safeguard his health," it said.
    Netanyahu has come under mounting criticism in recent months in part over the government's response to the pandemic, with Israelis holding weekly demonstrations outside his residence.
     Israeli police uses water canon to disperse people during a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu In Jerusalem Israeli police uses water canon to disperse people during a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu In Jerusalem
    Israeli police uses water canon to disperse people during a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu In Jerusalem
    (Photo: Oded Balilty, AP)
    Israel largely contained its outbreak last spring with a strict lockdown, but abruptly reopened the economy in May. Since then, the daily number of new cases has skyrocketed, while the country remains mired in an economic crisis.
    The U.S. visit comes as Israel considers whether to impose another lockdown ahead of Jewish High Holidays later this month.

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